Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Day 12.260 You Know How?

I sometimes use it as the reason behind my decision to leave LA over forty years ago.

Too many cars, too many people, too much hassle.

Punctuating an important growth period in the grand adventure with a stop in Spokane for the 1974 Worlds Fair, I woke one morning in the back of an empty cargo container parked near the expo. My 1952 Chevy 1/2 pickup had broke down near Oakland, CA, where we, Cassady my German Shepard and I, traded it to a Navy seaman for $100, a backpack and a cheese pizza. Once the pizza was gone, so were we, ending up two nights later in Spoke-a-loo.

I was happy, feeling very Kerouac like, exploring new territory with every step.

I was also broke.

After the fair me and Cassady decided to find work. We walked the streets looking for help wanted signs, this being about thirty years before Craigs List. After a few hours we were hungry and thirsty. So we waltz into an old brick building with a fading sign announcing it as Dale's Tavern. If you have ever been to Spokane, you can probably visualize this with little effort. A literal ton of red bricks went into the original construction of downtown Spokane. This one was its poster boy.

I have two dollars left to my name. It is Sunday afternoon. We take a quick vote and decide that I am more thirsty than Cassady is hungry, so I order a schooner of whatever is on tap. From outside Cassady eyes me with something less than unconditional love.

There is a beautiful solid oak file cabinet behind the bar running its entire length. The tarnished brass handles on each drawer remit a patina stained glow. My bar stool is comfortable and swivels in 360 degrees as I sip and spin.

When I near completion of my beer, the bar-keep inquires about Cassady who is now shaking down customers attempting entry for spare change or food with a friendly, for him, smile. 

Where you two heading?


Depends on what?

Depends on what happens today, I guess.

How do you mean?

I am broke, my dog there is hungry and I have enough left for one more beer, so if somehow, someone should offer me a job, I would be off in that direction promptly, if not I have no idea.

You looking for work?


Fitting his glasses where they previously hung around his neck to his nose and turning to the file cabinet he finds a drawer, slides it open, shuffles a few index cards and pulls one out. He stops at the tap and pours another beer setting it in front of me along with the index card.

You know how to drive a tractor?

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